Apple Brandy Barrel Noir
Prairie Artisan Ales

Apple Brandy Barrel NoirApple Brandy Barrel Noir
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Stout - American Imperial
Ranked #46
Ranked #169
4.5 | pDev: 7.11%
Prairie Artisan Ales
Oklahoma, United States
Apple Brandy Barrel NoirApple Brandy Barrel Noir
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Reviews: 239 | Ratings: 1,692 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by travolta:
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travolta from California

4.95/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

App: a dense and foamy mocha espresso head with light spotted lacing and very good retention. Black as soot.

Nose: chocolate milk, brandy, vanilla. Dark sweet apples.

Taste: frothy apple, barrel woodiness, a little cider hotness at the end. Like liquid chocolate with a touch of brandy, drank from a wooden cup.

Notes: drank at Dead Reckoning in Arcata, ca. Nina is at work.....poor girl.

Oct 04, 2015
More User Reviews:
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

4.25/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Once you drop the "Bomb!" on the palate, come the consequential variations. Backing off of the alcohol slightly and introducing a barrel aged charm, the new stout is roasty, toasty and robust as ever... but there's a twist.

Apple Brandy Noire is dark and ominous, drawing the ire of the most hardened drinker. It casts a delicate coffee-like creme of froth that casts strong aromatics of expected coffee, cocoa, campfire and walnut; however its spicy wine and wood notes are captivating.

Its roasty espresso flavors deeply side with coffee but carry and malty sweetness that seem of burn caramel, toffee and black-strap molasses. As the taste latches onto the middle palate, its sweetness shows reluctancy and the roast, spice and wood take hold. The taste concludes with smoky chocolate, tangy spice, blackberry and roasted currant.

Its full and brazen body engulfs the mouth with ease. High carbonation gives a dry marshmallow effect, but the tannic wood spice ensures a powdery texture and opens the window to showcase the high brandy spice. For a 12%-er, the stout is recklessly drinkable.

Its barrel-aged character and vinous spice are dully noted, however there's little about the beer that suggests any calvados or apple brandy character otherwise. Yet, the beer is a beautifully woven taste young. I can't wait to see what two years do to it.

Feb 16, 2015
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nlmartin from Ohio

2.87/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

The beer looked great in the tulip.
The aroma of the apple brandy and the dark roasted malts kicked serious ass.
The flavor left me lacking no apple brandy and frankly powdery roasted malt.
The mouth feel didn't inspire me.
Overall this beer is hype from the Prairie name. Do Better!

Feb 07, 2015
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winningwes91 from North Carolina

5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer shocked me. It pours out super thick (unlike other bomb varients), and has minimal head. Smells like brandy soaked fudge brownies. Taste is an explosion of fudge and sweet liquor. Wow. I'm amazed. Nice full mouthfeel.

Jul 01, 2016
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Illinasia from Illinois

4.94/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'd be happy if I could just smell this beer everyday. Can't stop thinking about this one.

Feb 23, 2015
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Keananmichael5 from California

4.21/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Like a wet balloon on a Memorial Holiday, this beer only dampens the mood. The look is that of a French maid on a dusty cabinet. And the smell suggests a boyhood fall into a pile of leaves but only once in the pile you discover they were not leaves at all but the ashes of your pet Cockatoo.

May 25, 2015
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.33/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

another awesome and hilarious label, and another world class beer from prairie. they keep just putting this thing in different barrels and turning out beer people line up to buy, and it seems to be working. i like this more than other barrel variants for a lot of reasons. the apple brandy is really distinct here, no mistaking it, its almost too much for the beer, it almost overwhelms it, but ive never though noir was the most nuanced beer, its amazing, but not overly complex, so it loves barrel ageing. the apples seem green, tart almost, and the booze in this is really exposed in nose and taste, like a glass of brandy itself, its not at all a flaw. not as grapey as some brandies, but sweet right at the right time, and lingering forever in the finish, enough to counter the long roasty bitterness as it finally fades from the palate. notes of raw cocoa, chicory, even tobacco on the back end. the barrel is as flavorful as the base beer, on another night i might say its too much barrel and apple brandy character, but in this case i adore it. not like other beers in calvados type barrels, highly suggested if you can still find it. i meant to age this awhile, but just couldnt wait. its drinking real nice right about now...

Apr 13, 2015
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mig100 from Texas

4.55/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Amazing apple brandy, vanilla, oak and chocolate from the smell to the taste, with some nice brandy highlights lingering on the finish and drink down. An excellent beer fresh, it will be interesting to see what some age does to it.

Feb 10, 2015
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Johnny_Cardboard from Illinois

5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Honest to god this is on my top tier. I have been a huge fan of Prairie for a long time. I love the Pirate Bombs but this just blows everything out of the water. I'm letting one age to see how well it develops but i cant imagine it getting much better. Smooth as hell, not overwhelming with the apple brandy, but its also not covered up too much. I have only given 2 other all 5s, and that was double barrel hunahpu's and the BC Bramble rye. If you have any of these i will buy or trade for them.

Apr 16, 2015
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Mateo2699 from Texas

4.81/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pour is a very dark brown, nearly black. Small ring of khaki colored head that dissipated very quickly. Aroma is excellent, like caramel covered apples. Equal hints of vanilla, toffee, and sweet chocolate. Wood and oak are noticable more as it warms. The taste is initially apples, hints of caramel, vanilla and bakers chocolate. This quickly faded in half a second and you get a sharp, pop of sweet brandy and oak in the back end. Mouthfeel is relatively thick and sticky. Hints of booze sticks around for a while. Overall, definitely a top 3 Prarie favorite in my opinion.

Jun 15, 2016
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thebeers from Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Purple-hued black color with a half-finger mocha head that's quick to dissipate into a crown.

Delicious, huge aroma of brandy, chocolate and caramel with a faint whiff of alcohol behind. Sort of reminds me of a caramel apple, but with brownie batter and hot fudge thrown in, too.

So much caramel in the taste! But with a slightly burnt flavor, like the edges of a well-done brownie, adding some balance. A little coffee, too. There's definitely some brandy in there, with a faint apple quality, I guess, that sort of lingers in the sides of the mouth. Slight warming alcohol in the finish as well.

It's medium bodied for the style -- super chewy in the nose, but less so in the actual mouthfeel.

I was worried that this would have a lot of apple-sweetness to it. There's definitely caramel sweetness in there, but it's manageable with an almost RIS-style base balancing it out. A fantastic dessert beer.

Mar 23, 2017
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boilermakerbrew from Indiana

4.66/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours like a big stout should, thick and black with a small, 1 finger head. Good lacing and head retention overall. The smell is incredibly unique for a stout. Big, semi-acidic notes from the apple brandy up front with good fruit forward flavors. The booze of the barrel comes in next and in fairly strong on the nose. The fruitiness moves from initial apples to dark fruit in the middle of the scent and then the roasts of the stout kick in. At the back end the apples ramp back up to mix with the chocolate and dark roasts of the stout. Leaves you thinking fresh picked apple.

The taste of this is mellow and not as segmented as the scent was. Smooth dark flavors with just a touch of the apple hit the tongue right up front. The dark roasts and barrel mix quickly after the initial apple flavor and kind of give a caramel-vanilla-apple flavor impression. At the end of the drink the green apple flavor returns and lingers on the palate with the dark and burnt roasts intermingling a little. This beer is rather heavy on the tongue, like it should be, and smooth. The alcohol is only mildly detectable, and mostly in the warmth of the drink.

Overall, this is a superb beer. The apple brandy barrel adds a dimension that the Noir base needed. Compared to the red wine and vanilla versions of this beer, the apple brandy is a winner by a mile.

Mar 20, 2015
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Jugs_McGhee from Louisiana

3.74/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Brief initial impressions from a 2015 vintage bottle:

HEAD: None.

BODY: Predictably, it's an opaque black.

AROMA: I definitely get the apple brandy along with some green apple. Dark malt and schwarz malt sweetness disappears beneath the admittedly slightly boozy barrel notes. Seductive, but I'm not sure the barrel notes are really bringing out the best in the base, or accentuating what's already there as opposed to adding just new overbearing notes. This will be interesting.

Aromatic intensity is above average.

TASTE: The apple brandy is showcased nicely, and brings plenty of barrel complexity, replete with the requisite green apple and brandy notes. I'm not very well acquainted with brandy, but this has more of a liquor feel than a wine feel, with a lingering candied finish redolent of candy apple/caramel apple and even wintergreen/mint notes. It's not too sweet, but then the malt backbone is largely eclipsed by the barrel. This is a beer built to emphasize the barrel rather than to emphasize a harmony of barrel to base - which is fine. It's balanced and enjoyable, with a long flavour duration owing to that lasting wintergreen, and a nice depth of flavour.

TEXTURE: Medium-bodied, well-carbonated (near perfectly), smooth, and wet. Unrefreshing. Not as soft as would be ideal, but it nails the richness.

OVERALL: She's a sipper, but she's wonderful. Really a lovely imperial stout, even though it emphasizes the barrel above the base. I quite like it and would absolutely get it again; I'm glad I have a bottle at home for a full review. I'd definitely recommend it to friends and trade partners. More great work from Prairie, and a testament to the quality of brandy barrel aging.

Low B+ (3.81)

04.12.15: further impressions from a 2015 vintage.

BOTTLE: 12 fl oz. Great label art & design. Branded pry-off pressure cap.

12% ABV.

Served cold into a snifter and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Expectations are high given my last experience with it.

HEAD: ~1 finger wide. Tan colour. Creamy. soft-looking, luscious, rich. Leaves a coating of light even lacing on the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Retention is subpar - ~1.5 minutes.

BODY: Opaque black. Not quite an ink-black, but dark.

Has no visible yeasty muck.

An apt appearance for an imperial stout.

AROMA: The barrel presence is fantastic, bringing rich notes of refined white oak, decadent apple brandy, faint vanilla, and wine-like notes of sherry and port. Very much a dessert beer aroma. Fortunately, there isn't much of a green apple presence - which tends to be a note I'm not keen on in beer. It's not real grapey as one might expect.

The barrel seems to complement but not accentuate the base, which offers notes of cream, dark/schwarz malts, chocolate malts, and coconut, but sadly no roasted barley.

As it warms, hints of burnt sugar emerge, and the subtle dark fruit presence develops, bringing notes of fig and muted plum.

Not a hoppy or yeasty aroma.

A mild to moderately intense aroma.

FINAL THOUGHTS: It's a fine dessert beer, with a port-like red wine presence complemented nicely by the base beer's dark fruit. The green apple is noticeable but not detrimental, and the brandy barrel sets off the dark malts nicely, giving this sweet imperial stout decadent intrigue. Some roasted barley or coffee to counter the malty sweetness with some bitterness would be nice, but the chocolate malt is nice - and is set off nicely by the silky mouthfeel. Some grape does seep in as it comes to temperature, lending it a somewhat sticky mouthfeel.

It's aptly creamy, with a mellow smooth presence on the palate and an apt weight. Full-bodied without being overbearing. Well-carbonated.

The oak presence is more reticent than suggested by the aromatics. I do find the coconut - which is a treat alongside the faint vanilla and helps mute the green apple - which I'm not sure I'm keen to.

I do come around a bit on the apple brandy as it comes to temperature, but overall I think bourbon is a better supplement to imperial stouts than apple brandy.

Still, this is a treat of an imperial stout and I can see why it has such a high reputation, but it's too far on the sweet end of the spectrum for my preferences. Very sippable and well worth trying, but I'm not sure I'd shell out for another bottle with the wealth of great imperial stouts out there. Constructively, the barrel and the base go well together only to a limited extent; I'm missing the seamless melting of barrel into base and true accentuating characteristics. And it does get a biteen dry on the finish, parching the palate somewhat.

High B (3.74)

Apr 03, 2015
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Meow49 from Washington

5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Not much to add to the other reviews I've read, except to say that this is truly a masterpiece. The brandy barrel aging imparts a real smoothness to the aggressive roast coffee flavors of the original bomb, and adds a layer of complexity that I haven't tasted in a brandy barrel aged, high gravity ale since North Coast Old Stock Cellar Reserve 2011. This one really knocked my socks off!

Jul 24, 2016
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ONovoMexicano from New Mexico

4.16/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into a snifter.

I'm loving the frothiness on this beer's head. It's chewy looking and looks like something I could make a meal of. I also like the dark khaki color and the wall of lace the receding leaves behind. Pitch black body looks like it'll offer some flavor. 5

I wasn't expecting that nose. That's definitely apple brandy. Impressive how the apple is perceivable. Brandy notes are sticky and a little bit astringent. Rich dark chocolate layers over this. The combination reminds me slightly of root beer or cream soda. 4

Apple brandy and dark chocolate are just as prominent on the palate as on the nose. A strong current of vanilla adds some sweetness and smooths the flavor out a bit. Mid-palate tastes a bit like a toasted coconut donut. The brandy is so pronounced it seems like I poured some from a bottle myself into my stout rather than having it actually aged in a brandy barrel. Interestingly enough, as I get deeper in, the beer becomes a bit more smoky/peaty like it was whiskey-barrel aged. I like this dimension of the beer though and the beer overall is really growing on me. 4.25

It's a tad hot given that it does feel like the brandy's been blended in. Mouthfeel is thick, semi-viscous and a bit bitter and solventy on the finish. 4

There's a lot to like about this beer but it also is a bit rough around the edges.

Apr 08, 2015
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Pauken from Ohio

5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've yet to have the 2016 but this beer gave me one of the most enjoyable experiences I've had drinking a beer. Literally went sip by sip for 4 hours savoring every flavor. The apple is what sets this apart from other BA stouts. Wanted to buy a bottle of Apple Brandy afterwords lol... Prairie really knows how to balance stouts and this is perfection IMO.

Jun 21, 2016
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GreatStoutman from Texas

4.91/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is one of the best I've had. Fresh 2016 batch, hot from the barrel...

Pours black, with thinner body and a tiny, tan head that vanishes with no sign of ever existing.

Smell is so good I want to bury my face in the glass... I kind of don't want to drink it, I just want to smell the sweet notes of chocolate, vanilla and oak.

Taste is better than the smell, many of the same flavors, but then the deep fruity, brandy flavors sneak in. Might be some bitterness, and that might actually be a little tart, but everything in harmony.

Feel is the only place this could maybe improve, but even that is being a real picky bastard. Its a Noir, and doesn't have the body of the Bomb family, but its nice and oily, sticky and doesn't overwhelm in any direction.

Overall, this is close to being a 5, and if maybe it had some more body it would be. Regardless, its excellent.

Jun 25, 2016
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russpowell from Arkansas

4.53/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours black as night, tiny amounts of mocha colored head. Nice viscosity to this, minimal lacing & head retention. Wish there would've been some lacing/head retention; doesn't really bring this experience down that much...

S: Chocolate, vanilla, faint booze, booze picks up as this warms

T: Follows the nose, a little pear & apple, plummyness too, a little dryness & barrel up front. Vanilla, caramel, a little brandy & oakyness; faint bitterness let's call it charred grains & a little apple peel as this warms. Finishes dry, with a booze warmth, caramel & apple brandy notes

MF: Medium body, smooth carbonation, silky, warming

A bonafide classic that Prairie needs to do again on a bigger scale. Easily in my top 3 of Prairie's offerings; even if my rating might not quite reflect that...

Apr 27, 2015
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Brolo75 from California

3.75/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 ounce bottle poured into a Belgian tulip glass

A: Black with some light coming through on the edges, mocha colored head, dissipated fairly quick, some lacing, looks viscous, looks good.

A: Things got weird here, an apple maple sweetness up front, picking up some slight chocolate aromas, not getting any of the barrel aromas but I am not sure what brandy is supposed to smell like, I don't drink brandy, but the apple is definitely there.

T: Barrel and apple character up front, some nice chocolate notes in the middle, smooth finish, for 12% the alcohol is well hidden.

M: Nice creamy mouthfeel, not a lot of carbonation on this, drinking really smooth.

O: Honestly, I'm a bit confused and thrown off by the apple brandy aromas and flavors, it has a really nice mouthfeel and appearance, but the apple brandy is not sitting well with my palate. I love barrel aged stouts but I'm on the fence with this one. I want to love this beer but the apple brandy causes me to step back and reconsider. I really enjoy barrel aged stouts with chocolate and/or coffee added but apple brandy doesn't appeal to me.

Mar 23, 2015
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Rcaros from Texas

4.51/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is the 2016 release
Appearance : poured a very dark brown with a nickles thickness light tan head. In glass it was black with ruby on the edges

Aroma: heavy caramel covered apples, oaky, smoky

Taste: caramel, small apple and chocolate. Good amount of barrel smokiness. Lingering brandy and alcohol sweetness. Not very boozy for 12%

Mouthfeel: mid to full thickness.. coats the mouth quite well.

Overall: very delicious. . Some age will put this at a 5 im sure.

Jun 19, 2016
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MartzMimic from Oklahoma

4.34/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a thick blackish brown from the bottle with only the slightest mocha head. Smells of chocolate, sweet brandy and red delicious apple. Tastes of brandy, chocolate, apples and vanilla. It's definitely boozy, but very creamy. Medium mouth that's a touch chewy. I really like how Prairie lets the barrel-aged taste come through without it being overpowering. Anxious to see what this tastes like a few months down the line. It's pretty darn good now.

Jan 23, 2015
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jlindros from Massachusetts

4.76/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to irish-hawkeye (Reddit) for this one, shared with rudzud.

Pours nice creamy head that fades fairly quickly, nice legs, pitch black beer.

Nose brings some fudgey dark chocolate, caramel chewy nougat notes, tons of apple brandy, syrupy candy apple, mild cookie wafer and dough.

Taste brings sweet candy malts, dark choc, biscuity cookie wafer, choc chip cookie and semi sweet choc. But with that is loads of apple brandy, nice barrel toasted oak notes, so much apple brandy it's crazy. Candy apple, syrup condensed brandy, apple cider almost, caramel apple. Some coffee roasty bitterness, no alcohol either. Finish is sticky mildly sweet, lingering mild roast, cookie dough, cocoa, and tons of apple brandy, caramel apple lingering.

Mouth is med to fuller bod, decent carb, no booze. Creamy smooth.

Overall this was awesome, great barrel, great base beer with cocoa and choc, great cookie flavor, awesome brandy, just great in all aspects.

Jun 06, 2015
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TruePerception from California

4.45/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Prairie Artisan's Apple Brandy Barrel Noir, imperial stout aged in apple brandy barrels. 12% ABV

A: Black with a deep chocolate head. Extremely dark brown in the dimple. Just a slight lacing, with a hint of sheeting and the merest ghost of inkiness.

S: Never had Calvados before, but the whiff I get off the beer is quite intriguing! Very deep, dark barrel caramels. Some hard alcohol and fruity notes. Hint of tobacco. Burnt toffee. Sight apple seed. Delicious! I can't get over that smell. It's just wonderful!

T/MF: Very dark stout, here. The first taste is all char and graphite. It's still a touch cold, though. Some very dark chocolate, behind. Carbonation could be a little less, but the beer is still fairly luxurious on the tongue. I do get a bit of alcohol on the swallow, which holds onto the tongue, but not too much so. Sweeter black coffee and tobacco on the swallow, as well.

While this one really shines on the nose, it is quite tasty, as well, if a little dark. Makes me want to buy a bottle of Calvados to see if it compares favorably...

Actually, in thought, brandy and stout pair well, since both excel with a little warmth. In practice, this beer speaks favorably, too.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle, into a Belgian tulip glass.

Edit: Brandy flavor comes through more as it warms.

Mar 23, 2015
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rabbott2 from Illinois

4.66/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2016 release drank in a snifter on 6/19/2016

Look - very very dark brown body, thick, small tan head, and some but not a ton of lacing

Smell - brandy and chocolate! really sweet and boozy (in a great way) smelling

Taste - a little caramelly apple, lots of sweet tasty brandy, and smooth and silky milk chocolate. Not super complex but it doesn't need to be. This is delicious cold and a little more as it warms. The oak comes through after warming.

Feel - creamy but not super thick. Coats the mouth well. Very drinkable for 12% with really almost no booze

Overall - i love brandy barrel aged stouts and this is nothing different. I love this offering from Prarie and glad I got a few this batch. Great balance of nice, almost simple flavors, but the complexity just isn't needed with how well this is put together.

Jun 20, 2016
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BarryMFBurton from Indiana

4.4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorite stouts (so far) from Prairie. Nose is warm and inviting, with notes of molasses, fudge, wet oak, and - surprisingly - a heavy amount of stewed apples. I didn't expect such a prominent fruit aroma from the calvados, but it's there in force. On the palate, the brandy is also front-and-center, but with less of that fresh apple character; the flavors come across more as a rounded, steady blend of ashy barrel wood, vanilla cream frosting, caramel, and baked, thick-skinned apples. Each sip is wrapped up in the sweet, sticky booziness you can only get with brandy, with the mouthfeel to match. Incredible; the barrel-aging really has changed this beer to its core. Now it's absolutely dripping with apple brandy flavor.

Indisputable evidence that the barrel can certainly make the beer - I've had Wine Barrel Noir and this is in a completely different ballpark. Bravo Prairie!

Jan 24, 2015
Apple Brandy Barrel Noir from Prairie Artisan Ales
Beer rating: 99 out of 100 with 1692 ratings